Thursday 2nd April 2020

In the far reaches of my mind—the part that files everything away for my writing—are constantly emerging plots, characters, locations. But no part of my imagination could have dreamt of a plot where a microscopic particle kills millions of people and brings most of the world to its knees. Not even James Bond in 'Moonraker' went this far. And yet here we are. 2020. We are all paying for the hubris of governments who thought pandemics were the stuff of bad dreams—they happen somewhere else, and should we have to we, can close the barn door after the horse has escaped and it will be just fine.

I look outside and no airplane contrails thread the skies. Airports, train stations, parking lots, highways, shops—empty. People are isolating in their homes; the smart ones taking every precaution before venturing out only for a spot of exercise or for food or medicine. It will be interesting to see what stories emerge after the pandemic ends. And I do believe it will eventually end. What movies, books, crime or hospital dramas, poems, music, theatre, art—what will they all have to say about this period? How will the history of this period be written? What will be suppressed and what will be revealed? Will we come out of this stronger or weaker? Will we be more self-reliant? More isolationist? More cooperative and peace-loving?

I write because I have to—it is what I do. And even when I'm not writing physcially, I'm writing mentally. It happens in the middle of the night, in the middle of a drive to the grocery store, when I'm watching TV! All of a sudden, other places with characters doing stuff are occupying my thoughts. The knowledge that people are losing lives, family members, friends, income, businesses, homes, gut-wrenching. I feel like my soul is withering in the heat of people's pain.

I started to feel like I was drowning in this grief. But sitting down to write feels like swimming back to the surface. When I write I am back on my journey—an escape route with moments of mindlessness and mindfulness. I feel like a flat tire being pumped full of air—writing is like filling up at a spiritual gas station.

At the moment I'm along for the ride, trying to behave myself, like a dog with its head out the window who has no idea where it's going, but is enjoying the rush of fresh air.